Tigers Steal the Show, Take Down Spartans 67-64
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Box Score (PDF)
NASHVILLE, TENN. – The USC Upstate men's basketball team held a second-half lead Friday evening at Tennessee State University, but a late Tiger rally knocked off the Spartans 67-64 at the Gentry Center in non-conference action.
The Tigers (6-7) remain perfect on their home floor with the victory, while the Spartans (4-7) drop their second straight game and sixth road contest of the year.
The Spartans faced an eight point deficit with just over a minute to play, but the Upstate gave it all they had in the final 60 seconds, cutting the lead to three on a Ty Greene three-pointer a pair of free throws by Ricardo Glenn.
After a foul and two missed free throws by Tennessee State with 7.8 seconds on the clock, the Spartans pushed the ball up the floor and Torrey Craig launched the potential game-tying trey from the top of the key at the buzzer, but the attempt was off the mark the Tigers escaped with a three-point victory.
"This is a disappointing loss for us heading into Christmas," said Head Coach Eddie Payne. "We outrebounded them by 18, but we didn't shoot free throws, we turned the ball over too much and I don't think we worked possessions very well."
The Spartans quickly jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the opening minutes of the game, but the Tigers got hot from long range and slowly worked their way back before taking the lead with 11:34 left in the first half on a three-pointer from Kellen Thornton to make it 14-11.
The lead would change hands six times in the opening period before the Spartans closed the half on a 5-0 run, including a trio of free throws by Greene to give Upstate a 29-25 lead heading to intermission.
Upstate opened the second half on fire and pushed the lead out to as many as eight points on a jumper by Adrian Rodgers with 17:34 to play, but Tennessee State had an answer once again and erased the deficit over the next five minutes.
A Craig three-pointer with 11:41 to play knotted the score for the final time at 44-44, but a trio of free throws moments later by the Tigers gave them the lead for good.
Glenn finished with his second straight double-double, tallying 13 points and 10 boards, while Craig added 18 points and eight rebounds.
The Spartans will now enjoy a nine-day break for the holiday season before returning home to play Coastal Georgia Sunday, Dec. 30 in the Hodge Center. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.
Upstate is 2-0 at home this season and enjoys the league's longest home winning streak at 10 games, which is tied for the 11th longest streak in the country. The Spartans have won 15 of their last 16 games in the Hodge Center and have not lost at home in over 300 days.